Within the framework of their working dinner on Thursday night, the NATO foreign ministers focused on nuclear deterrence and missile defence.
The NATO foreign ministers agreed that the 21st century security environment is complex and much less predictable than it used to be. New and old threats are developing into a complex menace in which weapons of mass destruction play a major role. “Nuclear deterrence is one of the pillars of NATO and the role of nuclear weapons in it is unique—it is not possible to replace it or compensate for it with conventional weapons,” Paet stressed. “The placement of American nuclear weapons in Europe preserves close transatlantic ties and allows for greater flexibility in deterrence,” Paet added.
Foreign Minister Paet stated that Estonia supports internationals arms control agreements and US President Barack Obama’s goal to work towards a world free of nuclear weapons. “As long as there are nations in the world that have not joined a nuclear non-proliferation treaty and do not follow its principles, unilateral nuclear disarmament would be dangerous from a security standpoint,” said Paet. Estonia feels that the wording in the current NATO Strategic Concept regarding nuclear deterrence is still adequate.
The foreign ministers also confirmed something that was agreed upon at the NATO summits in Bucharest and Strasbourg-Kehl—the establishment of a NATO missile defence system. “The goal of a missile defence system is to protect the population and territory of the entire alliance from all sources of danger,” said Foreign Minister Paet, expressing hope that developments in this area would come about more rapidly and a practical result would soon be reached. Paet expressed recognition of the USA’s ongoing dedication to protecting the European portion of NATO from the threat of ballistic missiles.
The meeting of NATO foreign ministers will continue on Friday, when NATO-Russia relations will be addressed and the situation in Afghanistan will be discussed along with representatives of the nations contributing to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF).
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